A man of steel

Amal Chatterjee
8 min readMay 20, 2022

Google photo of Sardar Ballabh Bhai Patel

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Synopsis: A great man was born in India who had the vision, the courage and the wisdom to steer the country in the right direction after its independence in 1947 so he was rightly called the Man of steel. This is the story of Sardar Ballabh Bhai Patel whom all patriotic Indians venerate.

The British did not like him because he would not serve their interest in the independent India. The so-called Mahatma asked him to give way to the sycophant Nehru so that he could be the Prime Minister although he was disliked by all the members of the Congress Party Working Committee except one. The party unanimously elected Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the man of steel as the next Prime Minister because they knew that he was a man of character, of immense integrity, courage and a great patriot but the Mahatma prevailed.

This pleased the British who had asked for Nehru whom they called the brown sahib who had promised to serve the British interest after the independence without an iota of shame. His skin may have been brown but inside he was as British as they came.

This came about due to immense pressure generated on the Mahatma to ask the man of steel to step aside by the viceroy Mountbatten and his wife Edwina, so a deal was made that allowed the British to leave India ahead of the schedule provided Nehru was made the prime minister. British actively encouraged the partition of India and the selection of sycophant Nehru as the next Prime Minister of independent India.

Being a gentleman and a man of honor Sardar Patel acquiesced although he did not like Nehru because he was pro-British to his core that riled Sardar to no end. It was a very sensitive time for India when the mass exodus of Muslims from India to Pakistan and the return of Hindus and Sikhs from there to India took place and resulted in a genocide of over a million people in the process.

The vivisection of India into three parts due to the insistence of Jinnah that caused the genocide was too traumatic for the Indians who waited with great trepidation to see what a newly independent nation would do but this partition was followed by more bad news from Kashmir. The Pakistanis had sent in heavily armed terrorists to occupy a part of Kashmir that even today is called the POK or Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

Sardar Patel became the Deputy Prime Minister, Home Minister, Minister of Information and Minister of State after independence who was responsible for the internal security of the country so the very first thing, he did was to bring under one flag some 562 independent princely states to make one United India. It was not easy because these princely states did not like to give up their privileges, they had enjoyed under the British rule, but Sardar Patel prevailed, so they all agreed to join India except one who insisted to join Pakistan. It was the Nizam of Hyderabad who had his own army, but Sardar sent in the Indian Army to surround Hyderabad to force Nizam to accede and disarmed all the armed goons of Nizam. He would not allow a part of Pakistan to be formed in the heart of India. After defeating Nizam, Patel retained him as the ceremonial chief of state, and held talks with him. There were 562 princely states in India which Sardar Patel integrated.

This brave action on his part earned him the nickname The man of steel. He also sent the Indian army to Kashmir to beat back the terrorists, but Nehru capitulated and went to the UN to ask for a cease fire thus overruling the Home Minister Patel. This action led to thousands of more deaths in Kashmir that resulted in three wars since 1947. The 4th war is in the offing to resolve the Kashmir issue once and for all, but no one knows when it will start. Pakistan considers India as its enemy so continues to send terrorists to make trouble from time to time.

But this blog is about the Man of steel so let me now tell you who really was Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and why all Indians salute him as the greatest leader who played a major role in deciding the inclusion of all the princely states to make one United India. His intervention in Kashmir stemmed the tide in favor of India so that the future governments could take more decisive actions to regain the parts lost to Pakistan.

Biography of Sardar Patel

Vallabhbhai Patel, in full Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel, by name Sardar Patel (Hindi: “Leader Patel”), (born October 31, 1875, Nadiad, Gujarat, India-died December 15, 1950, Bombay [now Mumbai]), Indian barrister and statesman, one of the leaders of the Indian National Congress during the struggle for Indian independence. During the first three years of Indian independence after 1947, he served as deputy prime minister, minister of home affairs, minister of information, and minister of states.

Early life and legal career

Patel was born into a self-sufficient landowning family of the Leva Patidar caste. Reared in an atmosphere of traditional Hinduism, he attended primary school at Karamasad and high school at Petlad but was mainly self-taught. Patel married at the age of 16, matriculated at 22, and passed the district pleader’s examination, which enabled him to practice law. In 1900 he set up an independent office of district pleader in Godhra, and two years later he moved to Borsad.

As a lawyer, Patel distinguished himself in presenting an unassailable case in a precise manner and in challenging police witnesses and British judges. In 1908 Patel lost his wife, who had borne him a son and daughter, and thereafter remained a widower. Determined to enhance his career in the legal profession, Patel traveled to London in August 1910 to study at the Middle Temple. There he studied diligently and passed the final examinations with high honors.

Returning to India in February 1913, he settled in Ahmadabad, rising rapidly to become the leading barrister in criminal law at the Ahmadabad bar. Reserved and courteous, he was noted for his superior mannerisms, his smart, English-style clothes, and his championship in bridge at Ahmadabad’s fashionable Gujarat Club. He was, until 1917, indifferent to Indian political activities.

In 1917 Patel found the course of his life changed after having been influenced by Mohandas K. Gandhi. Patel adhered to Gandhi’s satyagraha (policy of nonviolence) insofar as it furthered the Indian struggle against the British. But he did not identify himself with Gandhi’s moral convictions and ideals, and he regarded Gandhi’s emphasis on their universal application as irrelevant to India’s immediate political, economic, and social problems. Nevertheless, having resolved to follow and support Gandhi, Patel changed his style and appearance. He quit the Gujarat Club, dressed in the white cloth of the Indian peasant, and ate in the Indian manner.

During the second world war, Patel rejected as impractical Gandhi’s nonviolence in the face of the then-expected Japanese invasion of India. On the transfer of power, Patel differed with Gandhi in realizing that the partition of the subcontinent into Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan was inevitable, and he asserted that it was in India’s interests to part with Pakistan. (Wikipedia).

Sardar Patel did not always agree with Mohandas Gandhi and his way of begging the British to leave India that hurt the pride of all Indians who had fought and died for the freedom of their motherland. He secretly admired the courage of Netaji Bose and his struggle to free India through armed intervention using his Indian National Army (INA) that eventually forced the British to leave but Sardar was too committed to abandon the Gandhian movement he had joined in 1917. He was also sick and a widower in 1947. The long years of incarceration in British jails and the struggle to free India had sapped his energy but he continued as the Home Minister because the country needed him at a very difficult time in 1947. Only his iron will kept the country together. He never hesitated to speak his mind. He was a true nationalist to his core and saw the British as just the colonial occupiers whose time had come to leave. He died on December 15, 1950, barely three years after Independence.

Why the country reveres Sardar Patel for his contribution to lay the foundation of modern India and why 75 years after the Independence he remains relevant while all other Congressmen have faded or have started to fade into the history books?

If the correct history book is written now, many would not be mentioned as praiseworthy because Indians demand accountability from them even after their death. The Congress Party that ruled India for many years is now on its way out in most states.

But Sardar shines as the star that continues to mesmerize the country so long after his death. His personality, his honesty, his iron will and his patriotism put him in a category far apart from the rest. So much so that the present government of Narendra Modi has put up his statue in Gujarat in his honor that is the tallest in the world.

The Western news media derisively criticized the Indian government for spending millions of dollars on a statue of a man they had hardly ever heard of. The ignorance of the Western media when it comes to India is not surprising. All they know about India is the over population and its poverty but that is called stereotyping at its crudest.

Modern India is not the same as of yesteryears. It is no longer poor or starving and is growing at a mind-boggling rate to reach a multi trillion-dollar economy soon. It is a proud and self-sufficient country that manufactures everything it needs and then some. It has sent its vaccine to save millions of people in more than 100 countries and it feeds the world with the massive export of food grains like wheat and rice. Its economy is robust in spite of a 2-year pandemic of Corona virus and its military is very strong to deal with any external threats. Its space program has left behind many so-called developed nations by routinely sending missions to Mars and beyond using its own rockets and satellites. Indian scientists are second to none.

Due to his dedicated service to the nation, Sardar Patel will always live in the hearts of all patriotic Indians forever who bow to this great man when they look at the Statue of Unity built in his honor. The Statue of Unity is the world’s tallest statue, with a height of 182 meters (597 feet), located in the state of Gujarat, India. If you ever get a chance to visit India, do visit the extraordinary site where the statue of Sardar stands.

Now watch this video made on the Statue of Unity of Sardar Patel in Gujarat, India

Source: U tube video

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Originally published at http://aumolc.wordpress.com on May 20, 2022.